The Original Yacht
The word Yacht is derived from the Dutch “jagen”, which means to hunt or chase. It usually refers to small, fast boats that are ideal for short trips and crossings. This originally meant a fully-rigged vessel, smaller than a Pinnace but big enough to be decked out. Read more now on yacht sales mallorca
What was classified as a yacht in 1742 had changed over the centuries. As the capabilities of Yachts grow, anything from a motorized luxury cruise liner to private family boat can be labeled one. This comes with the prestige material that goes with it. However, this vessel has a rich and interesting history. Every sailor should know it.
The First Yachts
In the 17th century, the Yacht was the preferred vessel for many explorers. These Yachts could carry several men and several months of supplies including fresh produce for avoiding scurvy. They were also fast, nimble, and seaworthy, making them ideal for exploring uncharted waters. The Duyfken was a 60-ton Yacht that dropped the first westerners on Australian shores back in 1606. 36 years later, the New Zealand coast was first seen from the deck.
Early Yachts were not only ideal exploration vessels, but also played an important role in numerous great battles and wars. The Dutch used the Yachts as armed tenders, and the Duyfken played a crucial role in the battle against the Portuguese blockade that ended Iberian dominance in the spice trade. The Yacht became a courier in wartime as warships got bigger and more technologically advanced. It relied on its speed to send vital information quickly.
Yachting as a Pleasure: The Beginnings
Yachting and boating for fun are almost as old. Egyptian Pharaohs were buried with elaborate barges that transported them to the afterlife in style and elegance. It wasn’t until the late 1600s that water sports became more accessible and a part of daily life.
Dutch Invention of Yachting
The Netherlands, a great maritime nation, was responsible for bringing yachting to world attention and building the first Yacht. This Dutch country’s vast waterways made it necessary to use waterborne transport for both people and goods. The country’s wealth increased as it used these vessels to trade and explore the world. The newfound wealth was expressed by the ability to finally enjoy this wonderful natural resource of water, which had served so well.
Many of the pleasure-Yachts were patriotic, and some even had cannons on board to show off their country’s military might. Dutch culture embraced waterborne activities like competitive races, parades, and mock-battles. These activities cemented the place of the Yacht in leisure activities in the future.
The Yacht Invades Europe
Ironically, the British Civil War of 1642 was the catalyst for the spread of pleasure yachting across the Channel to England. Charles II, who was sent to an island refuge in order to protect his royal lineage began sailing as a way to amuse himself and fell in love with the pastime. The Netherlands was the perfect place for Charles II to deepen his love of yachting. When he became King in 1660 he continued his royal patronage, which would last into modern times.
Peter the Great, a Tsar in the 17th century, was intrigued by the hobby when he discovered the wreckage of the Yacht that Ivan the Terrible had been given over a hundred years earlier. The interest in yachting from Russia and Britain and Netherlands slowly spread into Europe.